It didn't seem all that funny to us at the time but there was the time, back in the early 70s, dad and I were fishing with Key West light tackle guide John Eckard. We had been fishing with John for a couple years and had become good friends or I don't think he would have pulled this on us. Anyway we were fishing some flatts near tne Marquesas and dad and I both needed to go. So John pulls up to this little Mangrove Island and lets us out with a role, then pulls back out into the channel to wait. It didn't take long. I don't know if he could actually see us for the cloud of no-see-ums or not, but I KNOW he could hear us!
John was a pretty well known and respected guide back then and he had tackle companies giving him tackle to field test. Anyway this one major brand had supplied him quite liberally and we were using their gear. Dad hooked into a nice tarpon on this one particular ten or twelve lb spin rig and after a while the drag simply went to virtual freespool. Apparently there was something catching so that on a hard run the drag unscrewed. Needless to say the tarpon made a fast exit. I tried to tell John but he was sure we had done something wrong.
Next day dad comes down with the cramps in the morning so we take him in and I fish out the day with John. Now John never fished with dad on board. He just didn't feel like it was professional to play when he had clients on board.
Anyway, with just me he let his hair down and picked up a rod. We were near a particular channel marker outside Key West harbor where permit used to hang out. What most Keys guides won't tell you is that a permit is a great delicacy. I was buisy with a tarpon when these permit showed up. John grabbed a small live crab out of his bait well impaled it on a hool on the first spinning rig he could grab and flipped it to the permit. By now you should have guessed which reel it was. There is a light at this paricular location and John was concerned that HIS permit would cut him off so he started yelling at me to start the engine and back down to lead the fish away from the tower. Bear in mind that I am still firmly attached to a 75 lb tarpon. I am very ammused at the whole thing. I was having more fun teasing John about who was the guide and who was the customer than fighting the tarpon anyway. John informed me that this was HIS supper, and he was captain and to get that boat away from that light! I did, still fighting the tarpon. Then it happened. the permit made a run for the light. The faster it ran the less drag he had, and before John could react the reel was in freespool and supper was making his first and only lap around a barnacle incrusted leg of the tower. John just stood there with his mouth open until it finally sunk in exactly what had happened. Then he slowly unscrewed the reel and heaved it into the channel.
Lots of feathers,